I’ve long been troubled by the use of the word ‘healer’… it seems too many practitioners want to claim this title for themselves. First, I believe there’s a higher power, call it what you will, that truly does the healing. Second, I believe it’s got to be a decision from the client or wounded or ill person to be healed. Hopefully the practitioner will help that wounded or ill person to find healing, whatever it looks like for them. But to deliver healing and believe it’s coming from within one’s own ‘power’ or ‘knowledge’ seems incredibly egoic to me.
Emmett Hutchins told us long ago that Ida Rolf always marked her occupation as “Posture Teacher” in her IRS forms. She also made us realize that we are not the therapists as Rolfers; gravity was/is the therapist and we are the educator, invoker, or facilitator that hopefully helps the client find that gravitational line and adhere more closely to it and express more fully from it. The basis of Rolfing as she taught it was the idea that we didn’t fix symptoms on clients; we helped get them right in gravity and hopefully the symptoms fixed themselves. While I allow myself to look at and try to assuage symptoms in my work, I’m still more interested in helping that client become even more of themself; that’s the healing I’m able to offer.
Recent studies coming from Harvard Medical School are beginning to examine not only the role of placebo, but the effect of telling the client/patient that the treatment being given is placebo. Interestingly, even people who are told their treatment is a sham are getting better. What’s that about?
I believe it’s because the first step to ‘healing’ anyone is to help them realize that they are worthy of happiness. If we can sit with a client in a non-judgmental fashion and let them see that we acknowledge their pain, they feel the strength of that offered hand… it’s just easier to be in pain when someone is there and lets you know they feel your pain. And if the pain is acknowledged, it’s easier to let it go… what we resist, persists.
So, even more importantly, have we as facilitators of health taken the time to look deeply and fearlessly at our own pains? Or are we the kind of therapist who busily ‘fixes’ others without ever looking at our own situations, our own fears, our own weaknesses? To me a true ‘healer’ is someone who has committed to doing their own work first so that they can non-judgmentally sit with the client/patient, truly listen and create space for that person to express the pain, grief, shame, and guilt and get through it and on with their life. That’s healing, and that’s what I hope to achieve when I endeavor to help others ‘heal’ themselves.
Noah Karrasch is a certified Rolfer and licensed massage therapist, and holds a teaching degree from the University of Missouri, Columbia. He teaches core bodywork skills throughout the midwest and also works with the Wren Clinic in East London. Noah lives and works in Springfield, Missouri. For more on his work please visit his website: http://noahkarrasch.com/